Holy Pilgrimage - Hindu temples in Australia
Vishnu Shiva Mandir, Mawson, Australia
82 Mawson Drive
MAWSON, ACT 2607
ph: +61 2 6286 6404
MAWSON, ACT 2607
ph: +61 2 6286 6404
"Vidyaa dadaati vinayam vinayaadyaati paatrataam
paatratvaaddhanamaapnoti dhanaaddharmam tatah sukham"
"Knowledge generates humility, by humility one becomes worthy,being worthy one earns wealth, with wealth one gains religiosity, and by religiosity one becomes happy".-Subhashita
"The soul who meditates on the Self is content to serve the Self and rests satisfied within the Self; there remains nothing more for him to accomplish”- Srimath Bhagavadh Gita
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE VISHNU SHIVA MANDIR CANBERRAWelcome to the website of the Vishnu Shiva Mandir & Library, located in Mawson, a suburb of Canberra, in the Australian Capital Territory.
The Mandir is operated by the Mandir Society of Australia Incorporated, a not-for-profit society incorporated in 1989. The society had existed informally since 1979 and resolved to build a Mandir in 1986.
The Mandir is for people to pray, meditate and perform community activites, as well as hosting a public library focusing on South Asian literature and culture.
The picturesque national capital of Australia is bestowed with serenity and divinity by the Vishnu Siva Mandir. Founded in the true traditions of ancient Saiva and Vaishnava agama (traditions), this holy shrine stands as a beacon of Hindu religion, spreading the messages of Bhakti (devotion) and Vedanta (Hindu philosophy).
The Maha Kumbhabhishekam (Consecration ceremony) of this Mandir was conducted by the renowned Agama Pandit Dr. T. S. Sambamurthi Sivachariar on 1 June 1997. The Maha Kumbhabhishekam ceremony, which was publicised in the national and international media, was conducted in the presence of the Hon. John Howard MP, the Prime Minister of Australia.
The Mandir has been founded by Mr. Niranjan Aggarwal and his family.
The word Mandir literally means a centre of learning. Another meaning of the word is gladdening. Learning and worship are the activites that gladden us and make us more human.
The design of the Mandir includes four ornate and towering Vimanas (domes) in the true Dravidian style, with fortyfour pillars, intricately carved inside and outside the building, depicting scenes from Hindu mythology. The imposing presence of the Papa Vinashini 'Gangotri' fountain in the entrance has served as an added attraction to the treasures of the National Capital.
The completion of this Mandir is a concrete proof that God very much exists and controls the affairs of this universe. Without His active support, we could not have overcome all the hurdles.
The history of this Mandir began in August 1979 when soon after our move from Sydney to Canberra, four families - Mr & Mrs N Chaudhary, Mr & Mrs S Jalota, the Late Mrs S Mahanty and ourselves decided to hold a puja to celebrate the Janam Ashtami (Birthday of Lord Krishna) at one home together. Accepting the generous offer of Mr and Mrs Jalota, the puja was held at their home in Evatt. The puja was satisfying to all those present and after that we started to hold monthly pujas. The first puja was to celebrate Baisakhi (New Year's Day) on 13 April 198O in Sterling College. This was reported in the Canberra Times, due to the courtesy of Ms Rama Gaind.
To deposit the Aarthi offerings, an account was opened under the name of Indian Mandir Society in Civic Building Society - forerunner of the present Advance Bank.
Monthly pujas continued to be held regularly. From September 198O, we started celebrating Navratre twice a year, as well as all the major Hindu festivals.
By 1986, the Canberra Hindu community started showing considerable religious devotion. At Dussehra Puja in 1986, the gathering made a sacred sankalpa (resolution) to build a Mandir. However God has His own ways. Soon after that, a separate organisation Hindu Temple and Cultural Centre was formed.
A sacred Sankalpa has its own strength as it is reinforced by God's own will. His will put the ideas in our heads and made us act.
An application for land was filed with the ACT Government in 1987. The prevailing laws of the ACT Government required that the Mandir Society had to be incorporated with a constitution.
Again God has His own ways. An Executive Committee comprising of Sri Siva, Sri Kanthigesar and Sri A Bhardwaj and myself was formed and an application lodged for incorporation. The Society was incorporated and the constitution was adopted. Having thus met all the requirements of the ACT Government, the Government agreed to grant a lease of land at Mawson. However we were still not fully decided that we wanted to really go ahead.
THE BLESSINGS OF LORD VENKATESWARI went to India in 1991 as my mother fell sick. This put me in contact with Sri Sampath (PA to then PM) and Sri I S N Sharma IPS Chief Security Officer of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD). Mi Sampath insisted that he had made all arrangements and that I should go for the Darshan of Lord Venkateswar to Tirumala (Tirputi). I had not planned this visit and hence was reluctant. However, I went to Tirupati and Sri Sharma told me to go and have the Darshan of the Lord, for as long as I wished - usually devotees are pushed to move after a few seconds.
I will never forget that Darshan of the Lord. I stood before Him for some 2O minutes. I had to move away only because my forehead was burning - probably due to microwave energy that I received from Him. However before I moved away I asked Him, "Will you grant us the boon of coming to live in Canberra?" To my surprise I saw the head of the Lord shaking telling me "YES", "YES". To me personally that was a point of no return.
In October 1992 Swami Gahanananda, Vice President and Swami Damodrananda of Ramakrishna Mission visited Canberra. It was our privilege to offer our home to them. This gave me the opportunity of obtaining spiritual strength from them. Having approached Lord Venkateswar, I was convinced 99% that God was leading us. However, 1% doubt lingered in my mind.
Swami Gahananandaji gave a very inspiring discourse at the Belconnen Library. That discourse was another turning point. On returning home, I requested Swamiji that I needed their help. Swamiji in a divine manner told me to wait till 1O AM next day. At the appointed time, I sat at Swamiji's feet and told Swamiji of the mysterious force that was pushing me towards building a Mandir and Vedant Hall, even though the source of money was still unknown. Both Swamijis meditated and finally directed me to go ahead and be guided by God.
To cut the long story short, the ACT Government signed the lease for the Mawson land.
Mr Satyaraju, IAS Commissioner Endowments Department Andhra Pradesh Government agreed and the Departmental Sthapati Sri Perumal provided us the detailed design for the Mandir.
LAYING OF THE FOUNDATION STONESri Satyaraju also consented to send Foundation Stones. He told us that he personally looked around for suitable foundation stones in Tirumala Hills till he found five stones with a Cobra (Shesh Nag) around them. Hearing the noises, the cobra slithered away. He picked up these stones and put them at the feet of Lord Venkateshwar at Tirumala (Tirupati). After the stones had been blessed he air-freighted them so as to reach Canberra only a day before the ceremony.
Another set of stones was picked up from the shores of the Holy Ganges and were duly blessed by Swami Bhuteshanandaji Maharaj, President of Rama Krishna Math at Bhuvaneswar Calcutta and other Swamijis. These holy stones were brought to Canberra by Swami Damodranandaji Maharaj of Ramakrishna Mission Fiji personally, who laid the Foundation Stones of the Mandir and Vedant Hall on 29 November 1992. The Vedic ceremonies were performed by Sri Rishikesh Bhatthar and other priests.
Having thus laid the Foundation Stones according to Hindu Agmas, the more difficult task of clearing the land begun. But events that followed have proved that the spiritual forces are far stronger than materialistic ones. The building design, plans and construction were all carried out without a big bank balance and without proper plans. No wonder the approved plans were amended seven times, mostly adding the facilities and making the Mandir bigger. For example, initially only to reduce construction costs, we intended to include ablution facilities within the Mandir roof line with external entrance. This was changed to a separate ablutions block, which was later increased to include three rooms and the Vedant Hall.
We had learnt that Jehovah's Witnesses built their Kingdom Halls in a miraculous manner in a matter of days, using voluntary labour. We decided to try that method. To our surprise, one kind-hearted plant operator agreed to borrow an excavator from his friend and levelled the entire land in two days time. That was another turning point.
A very large number of individuals assisted in completing this Mandir. The list is very long. The Mandir would not have been completed without them. They are angels who helped in building the God's abodes. The floor stage was completed "Braham Shila" laid in November 1993 by Mr Bob McMullen, then Federal Minister for Trade.
OPENING OF MANDIR BUILDINGNothing happened for some nine months. The construction work recommenced on 15 August 1994 and the Mandir Building was opened on 27 November 1994 by Mr Bill Wood, then ACT Minister for Land, Environment Planning. The spiritual occasional discourse was given by Rev. Gopeshawari Devi. Since that day the Mandir has been opened every Sunday and on all auspicious days. The devotional pujas performed by Sri L Prasad, Sri Mani and Sri K Venkatraman have been greatly appreciated.
TIRUPATI LOANThis is a long story in itself considering the number and magnitude of the hurdles which had to be crossed. It needed four trips to Tirupati, Bombay, Hyderabad and Delhi. The story will continue till the loan is paid off.
THE BUILDING OF DOMES AND DECORATIONSAfter completing the Mandir, we needed to build concrete decorations, as earlier planned. The selected Sthapati Rajagopalan could not speak English. He decided to involve an English speaking manager. The workers arrived in Canberra on 22 January 1996 and work continued satisfactorily only so long as the Sthapati was in Canberra. The construction phase of the work and the situation became intolerable after his departure from Canberra. Hence the workers returned to India on 10 November 1996. Mrs R Sharma and the managing committee provided invaluable support during this difficult period.
We contacted Sthapati Sri Nagarajanl, whom I had Contacted previously also. He Came to Canberra in January l997 and agreed to complete the Mandir work subject to a number of changes. A new set of workers reached Canberra on 8 March 1997. The completion of the Mandir is only due to the hard work of Sthapathi Baskaran and his team - S Kuruppiah, Ramados and Bhoominathan. Their hard work and commitment to finish the work for the opening of the Mandir by the Prime Minister Hon. John Howard is commendable.
THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE MANDIR BY THE PRIME MINISTERAfter our first letter dated 22 March 1996 and the follow-up, the Prime Minister Hon. John Howard agreed on 22 August 1996 to open the Mandir at a mutually convenient date.
On 29 April 1997 the PM's office informed us that he would be delighted to open the Mandir on 1 June 1997 and no other date is available for another six months. This short notice for the opening is our excuse for any deficiencies that might be experienced or noted today.
Thus the long series of hurdles that have been overcome in the completion of this Mandir has really been built by our Gods, for our benefit.
In the interest of brevity, a number of details have been omitted from the above synopsis. We will be happy to provide the details to an interested historian.
May the gods living in the Mandir continue their blessings on the Mandir and all of us.
Deities at the Mandir
While declaring that there is, in the final analysis, only one God, Hinduism uses symbolism and deities extensively to convey lofty ideals and complex concepts to ordinary people. This approach facilitates and inspires us to evolve to higher levels of consciousness and perfection. Since men vary in their approach and ideals and may wish to use different paths to the final spiritual goal, the ancient seers devised the various idols and altars, so that by placing their faith in their chosen deity they would lift themselves to the heights of perfection represented by the deity. Thus a host of gods and goddesses have been provided, each one a reflection of the supreme reality; each idol representing an ideal behind it.
Ganesha, Siva & Parvati, Murugan, Maha Devi, Rama, Sita, Lakshmana & Hanuman, Prasanna Venkateswara, Radha & Krishna, and the Navagrahas are the deities installed in the Mandir, for bestowing everlasting happiness and divine knowledge to the seekers and the bhaktas (devotees). They are very rewarding deities to whom a devotee can turn for support in times of joy and succour in times of distress.
Our priest conducts daily pujas in the shrines. The scholarly pandits add spirituality and vitality to the Mandir by conducting all Hindu utsavas (festivals) and pujas in the rich agama tradition. The Vedic mantra vibrations and the melodious bhajans (hymns) conducted in the Mandir, day in and day out, attract divine congregations from far and near.
All Indian festivals are celebrated in the Mandir in a traditional, authentic manner.
The Mandir also has a well established library of religious books to spread the message of Sanatana Dharma (the ancient Hindu Philosophy) to the next generaton and the community. The Mandir library is a major resource centre for studies in South Asian art and literature (including Gandhian literature).
The Mandir undertakes cultural, religious and social activities, as well as women's and youth activities.
- The resident priest can prepare/read horoscopes, provide astrological and palmistry predictions.
- The Mandir shop sells traditional Indian clothes and puja items.
- The Mandir Community Arts Centre provides a major contribution to the Indian and Sri Lankan community arts in the ACT.
- Classes for teaching Indian languages and bhajans - Sanskrit, Hindi and Tamil are held at the Mandir.
- The Mandir provides hall facilities for community activities.
You have a right to perform your duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty. (Bhagwad Gita 2.47)
Hindu philosophy can be described in various ways. Swami Vivekananda, the great Hindu saint of the 19th century, summarised the three principles of Hindu faith:
- Each soul is potentially divine:
The essence of all beings and objects is Spirit, omnipresent and eternal.
- The goal of life is to manifest this divinity:
The difference between persons is only the difference in the degree to which the divinity within them is manifest. Because a person is divine, he/she has infinite strength and wisdom at their command. They can use this strength and wisdom, to uncover the true nature of the divinity within. This nature can be uncovered by means of prayer and meditation.
- There is an underlying unity in all the great religions of the world:
Hindu faith accepts all the religions of the world, because it recognises the same divine inspiration in all, and that different religions suit different races, cultures and temperaments.
What does the Mandir mean to you?
If you are a Hindu, the Mandir is a place for worship, for scholarly pursuits and meetings, a centre of culture, Yoga and meditation activities, and a place in which to celebrate festivals and weddings. It is a place to help you lead a complete life - spiritually and mentally. We cannot live by bread alone.
If you are not a Hindu, it is a place to interact with Hindus and learn about their beliefs and culture. It is evidence of the sense of eternity in all human beings. It is a stimulating heritage for future generations.
The Mandir is open to all, 365 days a year. Observance of quietness and serenity in the Mandir and its grounds is requested. Please take note of the "Mandir Do's and Dont's", which are stated on a plaque at the entrance. When visiting the Mandir, always bring at least a fruit or a flower.
Finally, come, pray, see the deities, enjoy the Library, join a Yoga class, participate in celebrations, and experience an open mind and an elated spirit.
Enrich your life by coming to the Mandir
* For any specific requirements,Please contact mandir
Yajamans have to make an appointment at least a week before the Pooja/ceremony
by contacting the Mandir Priest @ 02 6286 6404 orvia e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org. It is the sole discretion of the Mandir Managing
Committee or Priest to accept or reject any request which may depend on other
*Some of the above
services are subject to availability. Please contact mandir priest.
DEITIES AT THE MANDIR
"Truth is One, Sages call it by various Names" (Rig Veda)
To assist the human mind in concentrating and meditating, symbolism forms an important part of Indian iconography where it is used as a form of shorthand to convey some of the personal traits of the deity. However each Deity is regarded as the whole and is not limited in any way.
The selection of the deities to be installed at the Mandir was very difficult, as all of them are considered to be different forms of the same ultimate truth. God appears in a number of forms in Hindu mythology. In India, Mandirs have been built for almost all of these forms. In this Mandir we have 12 deities, Navagrahams, Garuda and Nandi.
Authoritative descriptions of the deities are given in the sacred text. Since these deities represent the same eternal truth, these are also subject to different interpretations and representations, only limited by the capabilities of the feeble human mind. Hence the same deity is often represented in different ways in different parts of India.
Sri Ganapathi, Shiva, Sri Devi, Murugan, Sri Vishnu, Sri Rama Parivar,
Sri Krishna and Radha and Garuda
Mandir Opening HoursMon - Fri
Morning: 0830 - 0930 Hrs.
Evening: 1730 - 2000 Hrs.
Sat - Sun
Morning: 0830 - 0100 Hrs.
Evening: 1730 - 2000 Hrs.
Shri Pradeep Bhat
T: 02 6286 6404
Thamo Shritharan, President
H: 62865575 M: 0401997434
Nagabhushan Ramachandra, TreasurerW: 61217219 H: 62921809 M: 0403558465
Mandir Hindu Temple
82 Mawson Dr, Mawson ACT 2607
(02) 6286 6404 · vishnushivamandir.org
Om Tat Sat
(My humble salutations to the great devotees , wikisources and Pilgrimage tourist guide for the collection )